Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Book Review: Act of Grace by Karen Simpson

Grace Johnson is an exceptional African American student from Vigilant, Michigan. A racially charged town, few people understand why Grace would take a bullet to save the life of a Ku Klux Klansman named Jonathan Gilmore; especially since rumor has it years ago a member of Gilmore’s family murdered several African Americans--including Grace’s father.

The Ancestor spirits won't be ignored, however. They insist Grace bear witness to her town's violent racial history, so that all involved might transcend it. Looking back over her actions, Grace wonders if she can do as the spirits asked:  lead Gilmore, her hometown, and her own soul on a journey toward reconciliation, redemption and true grace.

Act of Grace by Karen Simpson is an eloquently written, intriguing mystical novel. Raised by an abusive, unloving mother, Grace is looking forward to graduation. Little does she know that her old life will soon be just a memory, as she is called by the Ancestors to bear witness to Vigilant's violent, racially charged past.

I can honestly say, I've never read a book like Act of Grace before. It captivated me quickly, and Simpson's eloquent prose unfolded the story slowly, like the blooming of a flower. Each layer revealed more as Grace shared her story. While I'm not typically a fan of books hosting a plethora of metaphors and similes, Simpson wove them into the plot in such a way that I couldn't imagine trying to read Grace's story without them. This did, however, lead to a slower development of the story. A great deal takes place within the book's 320 pages, and there were times I felt I had been reading forever, but was still less than halfway through it.

Act of Grace is as much a character driven novel as it is a plot driven one. The reader meets many strong personalities within the story. From Grace's mother to her aunts, from her cousin to her best friend and many more, these people will touch you or rub you the wrong way, but you won't be able to shake them. This is a story that will remain with you a long time.

I highly recommend Act of Grace by Karen Simpson.

Title:  Act of Grace
Author:  Karen Simpson
Publisher: Plenary Publishing (March 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0982777949
ISBN-13: 978-0982777947
SRP:  $15.00 (paperback)
Also available in a Kindle edition.

I received a free electronic copy of this book through Pump Up Your Book in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation of any kind for this review.

This book is the sixth book I've read for the following challenge:

This book is the fourth book I've read for the following challenge:

This book is the first book I've read for the following challenge:


brokenteepee said...

It seems you are quite book challenged for the year ;)

As you saw I was surprised by this one too. The writing was extraordinary.

Cheryl said...

I am challenged. :) I don't usually get involved in these things, but I figured I should have some fun for all this blogging.